I-League 2015/16: Bengaluru escape with draw against DSK to stay in title hunt

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Image Courtesy: © Twitter - Bengaluru FC

I-League 2015/16: Bengaluru escape with draw against DSK to stay in title hunt

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Arun S Kaimal

04/06/2016

Bengaluru FC’s hopes of going two points ahead in the title race took a blow on Wednesday after DSK Shivajians held them to a 1-1 draw at the Balewadi stadium. With the draw, Bengaluru remain joint-top with Mohun Bagan with a game in hand going into the business end of the season.

Starting Line-ups:

DSK Shivajians: Subrata (GK), Zohmingliana, Sahni, Jhingan, Amiri, Milan, Singh, Ralte, Dipanda, Quero, Douhou

Bengaluru FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Rino Anto, Curtis Osano, John Johnson, Keegan Pereira, Thoi Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Michael Collins, Daniel Lahlimpuia, CK Vineeth, Sunil Chhetri (c)

After securing a closely-fought win against Mumbai FC to join Mohun Bagan at the top, 2013/14 I-League champions Bengaluru FC travelled to Pune to take on newcomers DSK Shivajians, who were at the bottom of the table. Coach Ashley Westwood brought in last match’s hero Daniel Lahlimpuia, inspirational skipper Sunil Chhetri and left-back Keegan Pereira in place of Lalchhaunamwia, Kim Seong Yong, and Seminlen Doungel to form an attacking 4-1-3-2 formation.

On the other hand, DSK Shivajians came into the home match on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, which also included upset victories over East Bengal and Sporting Clube de Goa at home. DSK coach Derrick Pereira opted to go in with the same XI that earned a 1-1 away draw against Salgaocar last Friday.

With both the teams going for it from the start, the opening minutes saw some end-to-end stuff with Daniel Lahlimpuia and Baljit Sahni coming close to opening the scoring for their own teams. Sahni found the ball near the box and cut across the Bengaluru defence to take a shot, but the shot off his weaker left foot gave Amrinder Singh enough time to move across and collect the ball with ease. Daniel Lahlimpuia had a much-better effort at the other end in the fifth minute testing Subrata Paul from outside the box. But the veteran goalkeeper saw the shot all the way and calmly parried it away to avoid any danger.

As the match progressed, both teams started to take a more cautious approach curtailing their nature of free-flowing attacking play. In the 31st minute the home side had the chance of the game thus far after Sandesh Jhingan headed a ball right into the path of an unmarked Dipanda. But, the Cameroon striker blew the chance to score an easy goal by going for a smash instead of tapping it in from that point blank range.

The miss came back to haunt DSK soon as Bengaluru went ahead in the 34th minute through midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Skipper Sunil Chhetri took a swerving free-kick from thirty yards, which looked set for a goal, but Subrata Paul dived to his right and saved it. However, the palmed effort went straight to an onrushing Lyngdoh, and the midfielder converted his chance by slotting the ball into an open goal.

The home crowd was silenced but not for long. It only took two minutes for DSK to bring back the scores to level terms after Spaniard Juan Quero swung in a cross from the left straight to the head of Dipanda. The striker, who missed a golden opportunity moment ago, made no mistakes this time around and headed it past Amrinder to level the scores at the Balewadi stadium. With the scores deadlocked again, the home side ended the half in the ascendancy leaving Ashley Westwood a lot to think about in the break.

DSK continued their dominance even after the break and had the perfect chance to go ahead in the 61st minute. Baljit Sahni produced a beautiful cross from the right, and Dipanda dived full length to head the ball, only to see it ricocheting off the upright. The away side kept going back and back in an attempt to keep the scores level with no creditable attacks in the first thirty minutes of the second half.

Ashley Westwood brought on Udanta Singh in the last fifteen to add some pace to the attack, but he spent most of his time defending than mounting attacks for his team. Although the home side enjoyed the majority of the possession, they were unable to get past Amrinder Singh in the Bengaluru goal and settled for a 1-1 draw. With the draw, Bengaluru remained on course for the title after going joint-top with Mohun Bagan with a game in hand.

Sporting Clube de Goa vs Aizawl

In the other match of the day, Sporting Clube de Goa were held to a 1-1 draw by newcomers Aizawl FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa. Liberian striker Alfred Jaryan gave the away side the lead in the 28th minute after a miscued shot from fellow striker Joel Sunday fell into his path for a slot-in. However, the lead did not last much longer as Egyptian midfielder Mahmoud Al Amenah restored parity in the 36th minute with a delightful left-foot shot.

With the draw, Sporting moved to fourth with 15 points, while Aizawl remained at the bottom with 13 points from 14 games.

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